Superfast Broadband — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 24th June 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport) 3:48 pm, 24th June 2015

I do not know whether that is a technical term. I do know, however, that in my hon. Friend’s constituency some 33,000 premises will be delivered superfast broadband thanks to the plan. He will also know that both the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have validated the scheme for value for money. No contractor pays BT until the work is done and BT presents invoices, and the scheme is audited regularly.

Phase 2 is going ahead. Phase 3 is about no one being left behind, which is the theme of the debate. The key point about that last 5% is that we do not know how much it will cost. Back of an envelope costings can run into billions, but we need a proper figure. That is why we have launched the pilots, some of which are already delivering broadband connections to people all over the country. Better still, they give us an idea of the kinds of technologies we can use to get to that 5%. That will include suppliers other than BT and other technologies that BT and others are using, such as wireless and satellite.

Hon. Members have talked about businesses. We do not want to leave businesses behind. That is why we have launched our successful business voucher superfast broadband scheme. This morning, we announced that that scheme has delivered vouchers to 25,000 small businesses in cities up and down the country. Better still, there is now more competition in the market. Virgin Media announced £3 billion of investment because of the success of our scheme. TalkTalk announced a 1 gigabit offer in York and it will roll that out to other cities. BT has invested £3 billion of its own money and let us not forget that we have the fastest 4G roll-out and take-up anywhere in the world.